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La Liga: Barcelona win to go 14 clear, set unbeaten record at 39

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: Wolverhampton Wanderers win promotion, return to PL ]

Barcelona 2-1 Valencia

They’re out of the Champions League in heartbreaking fashion, sure, but Barcelona bounced back to winning ways in league play on Saturday, and in the process set a new La Liga record by improving to 39 games without defeat, dating back to last season. It’s hardly commensurate consolation after blowing a 4-1 lead over Roma following the first leg, but it’s yet another piece of history nonetheless.

On the not-so-bright side, Valencia entered the weekend one point ahead of Real Madrid for third place, thus beating Los Che opened the door for Los Blancos to return to third on Sunday.

Luis Suarez bagged the game’s opening goal after a quarter-hour, poking the ball past the goalkeeper from close range at the near post, and Samuel Umtiti made it 2-0 in the 51st minute — both goals were set up by Philippe Coutinho.

With the victory, Barca are now 14 points clear of second-place Atletico Madrid, with the season’s final El Clasico coming up in three short weeks, at the Camp Nou.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Girona 0-1 Real Betis (Friday)
Sevilla 2-2 Villarreal
Leganes 1-0 Celta Vigo
Las Palmas 0-1 Real Sociedad
Atletico Bilbao 2-3 Deportivo La Coruña

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Eibar vs. Alaves — 6 a.m. ET
Atletico Madrid vs. Levante — 10:15 a.m. ET
Getafe vs. Espanyol — 12:30 p.m. ET
Malaga vs. Real Madrid — 2:45 p.m. ET

Barcelona handles Roma with own goal help

AP Photo/ Manu Fernandez
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  • Roma concedes two own goals
  • Pique nabs Barca’s third
  • Dzeko nabs late away goal
  • Second leg April 10 at Stadio Olimpico

You’d be forgiven if you had “Daniele De Rossi own goal” as the way Barca would open the scoring just before halftime.

But that’s just one of two own goals Barcelona used to build a 4-1 lead on AS Roma with a UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg win at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.

Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez scored Barca’s other goals, while Edin Dzeko nabbed an away goal late to give Roma hope ahead of Tuesday’s second leg.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

It was a fellow UCL mainstay, Andres Iniesta, whose cross was diverted into the Roma goal by De Rossi.

Roma wanted a penalty kick when Samuel Umtiti chopped down Lorenzo Pellegrini on the edge of the 18, but only a free kick arrived for i Lupi.

Alessandro Florenzi almost cued Diego Perotti up for an equalizer in the first second half minute, but the latter’s header zipped wide of the goal.

Umtiti forced Kostas Manolas into an own goal before Pique gave Barca its first proper goal of the match five minutes later. It was 3-0 in the 59th minute.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

WATCH: Substitute Messi bags late equalizer, saves Barca’s unbeaten season

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Barcelona were 32 minutes from kissing their bid for an unbeaten season goodbye and suffering their first defeat of the La Liga season on Saturday, to sixth-place Sevilla. Ernesto Valverde brought Lionel Messi, who was unavailable to start due to a hamstring injury, off the bench.

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Messi had been on the field for a half-hour, yet Barca were now fewer than five minutes from falling short of etching their names in the history books. Then, in a way that seemed all too perfect to be real — if it were any team other than Barca — it happened.

They didn’t draw the game so much as they refused to lose.

Luis Suarez slammed home from close range to make it 2-1 in the 88th minute, and Messi curled an inch-perfect shot through traffic and off the outstretched hands of Sergio Rico.

The final major hurdle which Barca must clear will arrive in just over a month’s time, when Real Madrid visit the Camp Nou, with little to play for (they trail by 13 points in the title “race,” which could very well be officially over by then) beyond breaking up an otherwise flawless season.

La Liga roundup: No Messi, no problem for unbeaten Barcelona

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: PL roundup | Bundesliga wrap ]

Malaga 0-2 Barcelona

Barcelona were without the undisputed best player ever, Lionel Messi, as the 30-year-old Argentine withdrew from the squad due to the birth of his third child. This was, of course, little deterrent for the Barca buzzsaw, as Ernesto Valverde’s side remained unbeaten on the league season. Only 10 games remain in the quest for invincibility.

With deputies like Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho on his side, it’s no wonder Barca continue to roll even without Messi in the squad. The club’s “other” South American superstars picked up the slack and bagged a goal each, assisted by some guys named Jordi Alba and Ousmane Dembele, respectively, not long before Malaga were reduced to 10 men after 30 minutes.

Messi will be back for Wednesday’s Champions League round-of-16 second leg against Chelsea, for which the Blaugrana are slight favorites at 1-1 after the first leg away from home.

Eibar 1-2 Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo scored both goals for Real Madrid as Los Blancos were pushed to their limits late on by eighth-place Eibar.

Ronaldo opened the scoring after 34 minutes, but Ivan Ramis brought the home side back to 1-1 just five minutes into the second half. A point appeared to be on the cards, until Ronaldo broke Eibar’s hearts six minutes before full-time.

Madrid remain 15 points back of Barca, who lead Atletico Madrid by 11 points in the title race (Atleti host ninth-place Celta Vigo on Sunday).

Elsewhere in La Liga

Sevilla 0-2 Valencia
Getafe 0-1 Levante

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Espanyol vs. Real Sociedad — 7 a.m. ET
Atletico Madrid vs. Celta Vigo — 11:15 a.m. ET
Las Palmas vs. Villarreal — 1:30 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao vs. Leganes — 3:45 p.m. ET

La Liga: Barca’s 31-game unbeaten run ties longest in club history

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ FA CUP: Man United advance, drawn against PL opposition in QF ]

Eibar 0-2 Barcelona

Barcelona, the last remaining unbeaten side from Europe’s five major domestic leagues, warmed up for Tuesday’s Champions League round-of-16 clash with Chelsea by dismantling seventh-place Eibar side away from home on Saturday and extending their unbeaten run to 31 games in the league, tying the club’s all-time record in the process.

The Blaugrana took the lead after 15 minutes, when Lionel Messi slotted an inch-perfect through ball for Luis Suarez who rounded the goalkeeper and slotted home (WATCH HERE) for his 17th league goal of the season (20 in all competitions).

Messi played his part in Barca’s second goal, which came three minutes before full-time. The Argentine’s shot was initially saved, but Jordi Alba arrived on the scene moments later to clean up and finish off the 10-man Basque minnows.

The victory sends Barca 10 points clear of second-place Atletico Madrid, who play on Sunday, and 20 points clear of fourth-place Real Madrid, who have played two fewer games thus far.

Malaga 1-2 Valencia

Valencia, who spent the majority of the season’s first half as Barca’s nearest title rivals (while never really challenging), fell to third when they recently lost three straight league games, but have since regained their footing with back-to-back wins, including Saturday’s come-from-behind triumph away to last-place Malaga.

Brown Ideye put Malaga ahead just before the half-hour mark, a lead which remained intact for more than 50 minutes. Alas, Francis Coquelin bagged his first goal for Valencia in the 80th minute to draw level, followed by a penalty kick converted by Dani Parejo five minutes later.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Las Palmas 1-2 Sevilla
Alaves 1-0 Deportivo La Coruña

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Real Sociedad vs. Levante — 6 a.m. ET
Atletico Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao — 10:15 a.m. ET
Espanyol vs. Villarreal — 12:30 p.m. ET
Real Betis vs. Real Madrid — 2:45 p.m. ET